A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC)) is a sovereign state that has a high quality of life, developed economy, and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less industrialized nations.

According to the above table, Turkey has two pending recognitions yet to fulfill. That means Turkey is not an 'undisputed' developed country.

Why couldn't Turkey become a developed country even 98 years after becoming a republic (or, Westernization by Mustafa Kemal) even though Turkey has had very close relations with Europe and was not part of the Warsaw pact?

What is the core reason?


2 Answers 2

  • Moving goalposts.
    Becoming a developed country means, roughly, catching up to the most developed countries in the world. But the world is not standing still. A country that has reached the point where the United States was 50 years ago might not be recognized as a developed country today.
    Basically, you cannot have all countries above average and those which are above average can earn the money to invest to stay there.
  • People over infrastructure.
    Both Germany and Japan had their industrial base severely damaged by WWII. Yet a few decades later they were back among the developed nations. Why? They had the industrial workforce, management, legal structure, etc. to rebuild quickly. (Yes, the Marshall plan helped greatly. But it is a question how you run with it. Compare the FRG and the GDR -- both developed countries, even if one was first world and one was second world.)
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure that a country that reaches where the US is today would barely be recognized as a developed country. Once the world sees you as a developed country, it is very difficult to go back, especially if you put a lot of money into shouting how great you are.
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 7:53
  • 1
    even if one was first world and one was second world Nitpick: The term Third World comes from a quote mentioning "two worlds" and the conflict between them, but it did not establish a "ranking" or neither did it say that Western countries were "first world" and Communist countries were "second world"; yes the Western countries assigned themselves the "first world" label but I guess the Communist countries did not acknowledge themselves "second".
    – SJuan76
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 8:44
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    @Erik, for all its faults, the US does have a very high GNI per capita, and a fairly high HDI even among OECD countries. Sure, a single number measure everything, but on those and other metrics the US only usually looks bad when compared the upper half of other developed countries. And often enough, not even then.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 8:50
  • @timuzhti so do the UAE but they're not generally considered "developed" just for that. :) I didn't say the US wasn't rich.
    – Erik
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 8:52
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    @SJuan76, counter-nitpick: If you parse my sentence carefully, I merely imply that the FRG was first world and the GDR was second word -- "one was" rather than "the former" and "the latter." Yet you immediately got the meaning. First and second world are used in political discourse.
    – o.m.
    Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 10:04

The decision of whether to include a country or not is based on statistic data. The factors you quoted in your question are difficult to measure, but an attempt to do so is the HDI.

I am not sure of how exactly the numbers are below the thresholds. But I can say that frequent devaluations of their currency render the GDP numbers unstable, the GDP is also affected indirectly by high income inequality. Moreover the other numbers like life expectancy are within the range, but not so high.

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